Wicahpi and Wakinyan are a couple of eye-catching names I spotted on some recent SSA baby name lists. They’re both Lakota words:
- Wicahpi means “star.” It appeared on just one SSA list, as a girl name. Nearly all of the Wicahpis accounted for that year were born in South Dakota specifically.
- Wakinyan means “thunder,” though it also has ties to mythology. Another definition is “the cause and source of thunder and lightning, once supposed by the Dakotas to be a great bird.” Wakinyan has appeared on several SSA lists, always as a boy name.
By themselves they aren’t quite traditional Lakota personal names, but they were certainly used as elements in traditional personal names, such as:
- Big Thunder (Wakinyan T’anka)
- Fire Thunder (P’eta Wakinyan)
- Little Thunder
- Star Face (Wic’ahpi Itet’un)
- Thunder Face (Ite Wakinyan)
- Thunder Horse (Wakinyan T’asunke)
- Walks with Stars Woman
- White Thunder (Wakinyan Ska)
Which one do you like better, Wicahpi or Wakinyan?
- Buechel, Eugene, and Paul Manhart, eds. Lakota Dictionary: Lakota-English/English-Lakota. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002.
- Ingham, Bruce. English-Lakota Dictionary. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 2001.